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    Pariano's Blog No. 1: How It All Began

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    Northwestern wrestling head coach Drew Pariano and associate head coach Tim Cysewski will be in London for the final days of the 2012 Summer Olympics supporting NU graduate Jake Herbert as he competes in the 84 kg freestyle competition. The two are in London from Aug. 8-15 and Pariano will provide a number of blogs leading up to Jake's competition on Aug. 11 and while the coaching staff is in London. Pariano's first entry looks at how Northwestern prepared Herbert for his Olympic journey and how the NU Olympian is spending his time leading up to Aug. 11.

    "Northwestern started it all for me. It's where I went from being a boy with dreams and I became a man achieving and living those dreams. It was the best environment for me to be successful on and off the mat. I have great support with the university, better support from my teammates and my coaches went above and beyond to get me what I needed to continue to improve and push myself. Without Northwestern, there wouldn't be an Olympic dream and I wouldn't have a shot at winning gold in less than two weeks." - Jake Herbert

    Jake's journey to become an Olympian started a long time ago and it was a topic of discussion as early as 2003 when he was being recruited by Northwestern. It should also be known that Jake was trying to stretch his college experience out as long as possible and he did well with that making it a full six-year cycle. Although Jake didn't finish his NU career as an M.D., he does on occasion refer to his time as preparation for his doctorate in the sport of wrestling. All joking aside, our entire staff could not be more proud of Jake and all of his accomplishments. We know that his collegiate career was the perfect preparation for his international career. We also know that Jake has paved the way for future Northwestern wrestlers who aspire to be Olympians and World Champions.

    Right now, Jake is in the final stretch of his Olympic preparation. After arriving at the Games last week via a private jet, the team participated in the Opening Ceremony and after a quick stay in London, traveled more than 1,000 miles to Belarus, which is where Jake and his teammates are training for the next week.

    His Facebook and Twitter followers could probably gather the fact that he is excited and the anticipation for Aug. 11 is mounting (see photos above and below courtesy of Jake's Twitter page). Because wrestling takes place at the tail end of the games, all of our U.S. wrestlers will have to wait for their competition day to come. It's been known that wrestlers and coaches alike are not always the most patient people, but we will do our best waiting for Aug. 11.

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